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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 20, 2012

Date published:
August 20, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Matthews wants to take on Sagan in 2013

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) edges Heinrich Haussler (Garmin - Barracuda), left, and Michael Matthews (Rabobank), right, for Stage 4 victory at the Amgen Tour of California
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 2:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica-GreenEdge signing reveals he's ready for Tour de France debut

    Following the announcement last week that Michael Matthews will be leaving Rabobank at the end of this season for Orica-GreenEdge, the Australian sprinter has revealed that missing out on a ride at the Tour de France has left him supremely motivated to take on Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) next year.

    In an interview with the Canberra Times, Matthews explained that he believes he has what it takes to take on the Slovakian rider.

    "I'm really close to him in most of the races so seeing him win three stages in the Tour and me sitting at home watching it on TV was pretty hard," the 22-year-old said.

    "I think maybe next year I might be ready to give [the Tour] a go, I think this year it was nice to watch it on the TV and make myself more angry and excited to go there for next year."

    Matthews told the newspaper that in accepting the deal from the Australian outfit, he rejected Rabobank's offer of a three-year contract extension.

    "Rabobank weren't too happy because I was their young rising star, they wanted to keep me for the next three years but they can understand it's an Australian professional team and it's the first one, so they understand I want to be a part of that," Matthews said.

    Ideally, it's a move that Matthews would have liked to have made following his under 23 world championship win in Geelong in 2010 but he does not regret his time with Rabobank which resulted in a stage victory in his first-ever WorldTour race, the Tour Down Under in 2011 and then Rund um Köln. This year he claimed the Dutch...

  • Wiggins: Cavendish should probably leave Sky

    Brian Robinson has been hugely impressed at the achievements of Wiggins and Team Sky in 2012
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 4:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour de France winner admits he would like Manxman to stay

    With growing speculation that Mark Cavendish will leave Sky before the end of his current contract, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins believes that the sprinter is better-suited to another team.

    Speaking at the 'Ride with Brad' sportive in Lancashire on Sunday, Wiggins admitted that he would like Cavendish to stay "from a selfish point of view" but doesn't think it's a likely outcome due to Sky's general classification ambitions for the major races.

    "On a personal level I have enjoyed riding with him this year and I enjoy his company, but I understand why he would probably have to leave," the 32-year-old explained.

    "I love seeing him win as much as anyone else and to see Mark back out on the Tour winning six, seven or eight different stages and challenging for the green, he probably has to go [to another team]."

    Cavendish won three stages, with two leadouts at this year's Tour de France but was only able to rely on the support of Bernhard Eisel, unlike his previous experience at HTC-HighRoad where he had the majority of teammates at his disposal.

    "At Sky we have set a precedent now," Wiggins continued. "If we are going to dominate cycling and win three grand tours in a year, we have to start building to that GC thing.

    "Unfortunately for Mark, as we saw in the Tour, the two don't really go well together."

    Sky team principal Brailsford told the BBC following the end of the Tour de France that it would be reiterated to Cavendish that the team's focus would remain on Wiggins and Chris Froome and that discussions would take place to see how the Manxman "feels about that."

  • Report: German doping investigation of Freiburg doctors ends

    It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 5:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Some Telekom/T-Mobile doping cases “verifiable”, but no prosecution to ensue

    German prosecutors have closed their investigation of two doctors accused of having helping Team Telekom/T-Mobile riders dope, a German news magazine has reported. There was said to be “no sufficient suspicion of concrete violations of criminal provisions.”

    Doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid were associated with the Freiburg University Clinic and worked with Team Telekom/T-Mobile. They were accused of supplying the riders with illegal doping products including EPO and growth hormones, and of carrying out blood doping.

    However, according to the news magazine Spiegel, the prosecutor ended the more than five-year long investigation on July 17 of this year. Many of the charges had passed the statute of limitations, chief prosecutor Christoph Frank said in his 21-page order. In addition, the riders had agreed to the doping and were not injured by it. In some cases exact dates and locations of the doping could not be established.

    There was still, though, a “continuing general suspicion” that the doctors supplied the doping products, and specifically provided EPO to Jan Ullrich, Steffen Wesemann, Rolf Aldag, Erik Zabel, Udo Bölts and Jens Heppner. It was also “verifiable” that Andreas Klöden, Matthias Kessler and Patrik Sinkewitz were involved in blood doping in 2006, Spiegel reports the order as saying.

    In May 2007, both doctors confessed to having helped riders dope over the years, although neither of them named names. They were suspended by the German team and ultimately fired from the University Clinic.

    Following the first disclosures of the doctors' actions, a number of athletes confessed to having used doping products, including Zabel, Aldag and Bölts.

    The 2006 blood doping charges stem...

  • Greipel to miss World Championships in Limburg

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) is interviewed
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 6:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Course too difficult for German sprinter

    André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) will skip this year’s UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands, according to German media outlets. The German finished third behind Mark Cavendish and Matt Goss at last year’s World’s in Copenhagen however, the course slated for this year’s race is too difficult according to the sprinter.

    "The route is too difficult for me," Greipel told Focus Online. "From the beginning, I'm not ready for it."

    Greipel finished second to Arnaud Démare (FDJ-Big Mat) at the weekend’s Vattenfall Cyclassics and will now look to wind down his season with a few smaller races. The big sprinter cited the high temperatures for his failure to deliver another win for his Lotto Belisol team in Germany whilst praising the ability of the young Frenchman Démare.

    "My engine had some cooling problems," joked Greipel after experiencing temperatures up to 38 degrees during the 245.6km race. "I can be happy with second place as I suffer in these hot conditions. I prefer it to be around 10 degrees cooler," said Greipel to

    "Arnaud has proven that he is a good sprinter," he continued.

    "This is my first WorldTour win and I'm really happy that I won the race. There were many breakaways and it was really hard because of the heat today. I drank more than ten bottles," Demare said.

    Greipel has enjoyed his best season to date, having taken 16 victories so far this year, three stage wins and finished second in the points classification at the Tour de France. His next race is yet to be announced however, following his...

  • Basque Country’s most famous climb awaits the Vuelta

    Joseba Beloki (Liberty) makes it hard
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 9:02 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    First summit finish of ten in 2012 Vuelta

    The Basque Country’s most famous climb, the Subida a Arrate, will be tackled by the peloton of the Vuelta a España late this afternoon for the first time since 1974.

    Just 5.5 kilometres long and with an average gradient of 7.8 percent - but with some sections at 11 percent - unlike in the Vuelta al País Vasco, where it is usually tackled twice, for its first visit in nearly four decades, the Vuelta will head up through the deep woodlands of Mount Arrate just the once.

    Arrate is far from being the toughest climb in the Basque Country, but it is the best-known and one of the most frequently used in bike races there. For years it was traditionally the last climb of the Euskal Bizikleta stage race, which then fused with the Vuelta al País Vasco in 2008, and which still always includes at least one ascent of this emblematic climb.

    Prior to that, for nearly half a century - 1946 to 1990 - the Subida a Arrate was one of Spain’s best-known single hill-climb races. All-time climbing great Federico Martín Bahamontes holds the record for victories, winning it five straight times between 1958 and 1962, although ‘The Eagle of Toledo’ still insists that in fact he won it six times and the record-books are wrong!

    The list of winners on Arrate is testament to its prestige: almost all the Spanish top names are amongst them - Jesus Loroño, Julio Jiménez, Miguel Indurain, Luis Ocaña, Alberto Contador, Alberto Fernández and Joseba Beloki. Foreign winners include Ivan Basso, Evgeni Berzin and Stephen Roche.

    The Vuelta a España, curiously enough, has had just two ascents in its history, 1972 and 1974, both ending in wins for Agustin Tamamés, best known for his overall victory in 1975.

    For the last three years the Arrate stage of...

  • Bruyneel: Next year we will see a different RadioShack-Nissan

    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 9:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Team manager talks Schlecks and changes for 2013 season

    After spending the month of July away from the Tour de France due to his involvement in a doping case with the US Anti-Doping Agency, RadioShack-Nissan sports director Johan Bruyneel returned to duties at the Vuelta a España. Bruyneel rode in the team car during the TTT and after the opening stages, will return towards the final days of the Grand Tour.

    It was Bruyneel’s decision to remove himself from his director’s role at the Tour de France but it’s not just the impeding charges from USADA that have Lance Armstrong’s former DS concerned. His ‘star-studded’ roster has failed to deliver expected results after the merger between RadioShack and Leopard-Trek at the end of 2012 and is hoping for better luck in 2013.

    "I’m not sure if it was a mistake or not [to merge the teams]. We have to wait until the end of the year to assess. It is true I’d hoped everything would be easier and the transition would be quicker," he told Deia.

    RadioShack-Nissan has won just 12 races this year compared to almost three times that amount when Bruyneel was the manager of Team RadioShack in 2012. The merger was meant to rebuild the team’s grand tour potential with the signing of Andy and Fränk Schleck however neither has managed a single win this year.

    "Here is a little different, I did not select the team leaders [the Schlecks]," said Bruyneel. "Winning solves everything. The problem is that I expected a change in six months - it took me a whole year."

  • Démare enters league of top sprinters

    Arnaud Demare (FDJ - Big Mat) on the podium
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 10:37 BST
    Cycling News

    FDJ-BigMat youngster dominates world's fastest in Hamburg Cyclassics

    French sprinter Arnaud Démare has shown he is one of the fastest sprinters in the world by beating Lotto-Belisol's André Greipel on his home turf at the Hamburg Cyclassics. Other world class sprinters such as Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) and Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, in a hard race made even more difficult by blistering temperatures of more than 36° Celsius.

    Démare, the 2011 U23 world champion, scored several important victories this spring but winning the Hamburg Cyclassics stands out as his greatest WorldTour feat so far, especially against such high-class rivals. "I'm super happy," the 20-year-old told L'Equipe after the event.

    "It's really great. When you win a race, you look at who came second, and the second-placed rider is Greipel! It gives me lots of motivation for the end of the season. I had never won a sprint after 246 kilometres. And in this kind of heat! I suffered, I constantly poured water over myself. Everybody was completely worn out."

    Martial Gayant, directeur sportif at FDJ, had taken the difficult conditions into account before the race. "We sensed that the riders' bodies would be numb. In the evening before the race, we talked. We knew that the high temperatures would make it split into pieces," Gayant said. In the end, only 23 riders formed the group sprinting for the victory, after Démare's teammate Matthieu Ladagnous was part of a mid-race breakaway.

    Démare had a point to prove following a less successful period since the month if June, when his teammate Nacer Bouhanni snatched the title of...

  • Pozzovivo to join Ag2r-La Mondiale

    Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago - CSF)
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 11:23 BST
    Cycling News

    French squad looks to ensure WorldTour status

    Domenico Pozzovivo is set to join Ag2r-La Mondiale ahead of the 2013 season, according to a report on The 29-year-old has enjoyed an impressive campaign with Colnago-CSF Inox, including a maiden stage win at the Giro d’Italia and overall victory at the Giro del Trentino.

    Ag2r-La Mondiale has been one of the most active squads on the transfer market to date as it bids to retain its WorldTour status next season. The departure of Nicolas Roche to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank has been offset by the signings of Carlos Alberto Betancur (from Acqua & Sapone), Davide Appollonio (Sky), Steve Chainel, Yauheni Hutarovich (both FDJ-BigMat) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis).

    Pozzovivo’s arrival would add significantly to Ag2r’s ability to compete in the high mountains. The diminutive climber scored an impressive win at Lago Laceno en route to 8th overall at this year’s Giro d’Italia, a purple patch of form book-ended by his victory at Trentino and second place overall at the Tour of Slovenia.

    Hailing from the southern region of Basilicata, Pozzovivo has spent his entire professional career to date riding for Bruno Reverberi’s team, debuting under the Panaria banner in 2005. The team’s Pro Continental status has restricted Pozzovivo’s appearances outside of his home country, and his stage victory at this year’s Tour of Slovenia was his first win outside of Italy as a professional.